|Plans To Downgrade Charing Cross Hospital Scrapped|
NHS to scrap controversial Shaping a Healthier Future Plan
Health minister Matt Hancock MP has confirmed that the NHS has taken the decision to scrap the controversial ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’ plan. If it had proceeded it would have led to the closure of Charing Cross Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department and the loss of 500 acute care beds.
The minister was responding to a question from Greg Hands MP in the Commons this Tuesday afternoon. He said, “‘Shaping a healthier future’ is no longer supported by the Department for Health and Social Care, by NHS Improvement or NHS England. The NHS will look at the parts of the proposals that are in line with the long-term plan, like the aspects of the plan that are focused on expanding the treating of people in the community. But as for the changes in A&E in West London, for instance at Charing Cross Hospital that he mentions, that are part of ‘Shaping a Healthier Future’, these will not now happen.”
Greg Hands said afterwards, “Now it is clear that Charing Cross Hospital with an A&E has a bright future as both a local hospital and as a provider of specialist hospital services to a wider west London population. It is time for local politicians in Hammersmith & Fulham to stop weaponising the future of Charing Cross Hospital as a shameless tactic to get more votes in local elections.”
The dropping of the programme was confirmed today (March 26) by Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The abandonment of the policy is be hailed as a big victory for local health campaigners as well as the council, who worked with Hammersmith and Fulham councils to garner roughly 22,000 signatures during a seven-year campaign to save services.
A statement from the North West London Collaboration of Clinical Commissioning Groups said, “All parts of the NHS are now in agreement to draw the SaHF programme to a conclusion and bring our on-going efforts to improve health and care together in a new programme as part of our NHS Long Term Plan response. This means we will not be taking forward the plans as set out in SaHF for changes to Ealing and Charing Cross hospitals, but this does not mean that services across NW London will not change.
“Challenges still remain, including the state of our estate and getting access to sufficient capital to invest in redevelopment, the continuing growth in demand for acute care despite investment in primary and community services; tight budgets; and gaps in our ability to recruit and retain enough staff with the right skills.
“This new plan for health and care in NW London will therefore still need to include changes, involving some difficult decisions and trade-offs but we believe if we all work together - staff, patients, partners and stakeholders - then we will have the best possible chance of success.”
According to a survey by BMG research in 2017, 70 per cent used the hospitals every year.
Written with contributions from Ged Cann – Local Democracy Reporter
March 26, 2019